Wednesday, 1 April 2009. The topic discussed during the Wednesday Forum on April 1, 2009 was about Sufism and Women which was presented by Najiyah Martiam, a CRCS alumna.
Martiam stated that Sufism is a world full of affable thoughts that point to women. This is the result of her thorough research on Sufism. She had interviewed three female Sufis and one male Sufi in Yogyakarta, and some Sufis in Turkey.
For Martiam, Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) and Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), who were prominent Sufis in the past, stated that women are important figure in performing Sufism. Ibn Arabi said that if a man wants to be a Sufi, he should transform into a woman first. His point of view here relates to his perspective in viewing the Divine as feminine. According to Jalaluddin, ?A woman is a ray of God.? She is not just an earthly beloved; she is creative, not created. When a woman controls her feelings and overcomes sensual desires, she leaves the men behind on the path of God and attains truth faster than men. These two male Sufis showed their great care to women in relation to God.
What about female Sufis in viewing women and God? To answer this question, Martiam presented the result of her research with the three female Sufis in Java she interviewed who were Umi, Ibu Heni and Mbak Ati Hidayati.
Martiam sees that there are differences between female and male. She said that female spiritualism is more integrative or holistic. There is an intrinsic unity in all forms of being called ?life force? or ?life energy.? The experience of union with the Divine is accessible to everyone here and now. God is here not there. There is no dichotomy between body and mind. The body is the main resource of spirituality and power.
By interviewing those Sufis mentioned, Martiam does not intend to make men behind women, or to make women forward, but she intends to show that in this world the equality or balance is needed. She does not talk about dichotomy between men and women. Beyond that, masculine and feminine energies in every human being have to be equal or balance. According to Martiam, patriarchal culture which prioritizes masculinity has caused inequality or imbalance in the world that is believed as main cause of domination of ratio and men?s superiority to women. Therefore, feminine energy that represents feeling and women?s existence in the world has to be improved until equality will be accomplished.
This frame, Martiam said, is interesting to be counted on in problems of gender inequality and social problems which are based on masculinity. This also shows that the discourse of metaphysic is adequate to be considered in searching solutions of today?s problems. Even Fritjof Capra, a physicist, in his book entitled ?the Turning Point? shows that Physics and History reveal that the phenomena in the world are related to both energies.
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